Ruler Of All He Surveys


Name: Boyce VI

Age: Two

Breed: Flatcoated retriever (or distributor, as my father says)

Occupation: King of Rolvenden


Hello there, loyal subjects! My name is Boyce VI and I am the latest in a long and illustrious line of flatcoats to rule over the kingdom, or village, of Rolvenden. We have all taken the same name, allegedly because my mother thinks it a strong one, but probably also because we all look and behave in precisely the same manner. We're a noble yet fairly predictable breed; loving, happy and — even I will admit it — completely and utterly bonkers. Ruling a kingdom might seem an onerous task, but keeping both myself and my minions happy is really quite simple. Let me tell you how it's done...


Never fully dressed without a smile

One of the easiest ways to bestow favour upon and bring joy to my subjects is, strangely, simply to bare my teeth — they call it ‘grinning’. A quick curl of the upper lip sends them into an apoplexy of delight and often garners edible gifts. Dogs find this threatening, humans adorable. It’s a funny old world.


A feast fit for a king

Speaking of edible gifts, I make a point of never accepting the first offering of my subjects. As a naive young pup, I happily crunched up a bowl of dry biscuits. However, after leaving it a while one day (I was already full of Dad’s slippers), I came back to find some rather delicious smelling gravy had made its way into the mix. Using every ounce of self-restraint I could muster, I walked away once again and returned to find a delectable topping of corned beef. Now, I feast on turkey, pilchards and, on a Sunday, a traditional roast dinner. I am truly the finest fed pup in the land.


Sweet dreams are made of these

A king must have the right to roam. When the fancy takes me, I will happily curl up in the cool of my metal cage. However, I strongly object to closed doors, particularly ones without handles that I can't open. I soon discovered that the simple act of crying non-stop for several hours, several nights on the trot (it’s easy enough once you find your stride), meant that the cage doors were never shut again. Now, my subjects and I enjoy blissful nights of unbroken sleep — they also realised that, if I was going to sleep on a sofa rather than their bed (a just ruler must also be willing to compromise), the very least they could do was supply me with plentiful blankets. Bliss.


My hairdryer! Mine!

I have heard tell that my predecessor, Boyce V, was deeply fearful of the noise machine my mother refers to as “the vacuum”. I, however, am a fearless beast and am particularly fond of the implement known as “the hairdryer” — I’m not sure why it’s called that, as you certainly don’t need to be wet to enjoy it. After watching my humans basking in its warmth, I decided to try it out for myself by planting myself on the edge of the bed and worming my way in under their arm. It was a revelation! Now, every time I hear its welcome roar, I hotfoot it up the stairs and sit eagerly before the wet person awaiting my turn. I usually get to enjoy my blowdry for a good few minutes, before they start to worry about something called “frizz” and returning to their own bedraggled head coat. 


Shower me with gifts

I have a love-hate relationship with the gifts bestowed on me by my subjects. I love receiving them, particularly a nice stuffed duck or a neon frisby. The trouble is, I also love methodically destroying them. I make a point of only destroying things that belong to me and would never so much as take a nibble from mum’s shoes. At least not since I advanced past puppydom (Dad’s digested slippers were the last victims of my youth. Or maybe the foot rungs on the kitchen chairs, I forget). But I hate, hate, hate it when Dad then confiscates ducky’s beak, wings and torso or the splintered remains of the aforementioned frisby, amid loud concerns that I might ingest them. What does he take me for, some kind of village idiot? The only constant in my life has been an invincible 99% rubber ball — it really is invincible, I’ve tried. Luckily, my devoted subjects are happy to shower me with a constant supply of new and always short-lived gifts and so peace is restored in my happy little kingdom.